FOR Clear, mu­si­cal sound; sure­footed or­gan­i­sa­tion; build AGAINST Newer com­peti­tors have raised the bar

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In 2008, KEF launched the high-end Muon speak­ers. They were lim­it­ededi­tion alu­minium tow­ers, sculpted by in­dus­trial de­signer Ross Love­grove, and they cost £140,000 per pair. Yikes!

Thank­fully their pint-sized de­scen­dant, our Award-win­ner at this price point in 2015, is a lot more ac­ces­si­ble. The Muo may be cheaper than its rel­a­tive, but the pre­mium pedi­gree is im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent. The grille gives it the same sculpted hour­glass aes­thetic of the Muon and helps make it one of the more at­trac­tive por­ta­ble wire­less speak­ers we’ve seen.

Noth­ing wet here

It feels pretty tough too, and its weight and struc­tural in­tegrity are con­sis­tent with some­thing Colonel Mus­tard might use in the li­brary. It doesn’t have any wa­ter­proof­ing skills, how­ever, which rules out tak­ing the Muo to rainy fes­ti­vals or sum­mer pic­nics.

On the in­side are two 5cm driv­ers and a bass ra­di­a­tor. The driv­ers are an un­usual de­sign where the di­aphragm is a com­bi­na­tion of dome and cone sec­tions, de­cou­pled with a flex­i­ble mem­brane. The idea is to em­u­late the be­hav­iour and char­ac­ter­is­tics of KEF’S Uni-q driv­ers in a sim­pler, more me­chan­i­cal way.

One of the main fea­tures here is Blue­tooth 4.0 with aptx. No Blue­tooth? Then you can con­nect with a 3.5mm cable, though it’s not in­cluded.

Things are mov­ing on

Fine, but does the au­dio per­for­mance still stand up af­ter a year’s-worth of im­prove­ments by its com­peti­tors? To an ex­tent, yes. The KEF Muo is a ver­sa­tile per­former, ca­pa­ble of do­ing por­ta­ble jus­tice to Strauss’s Die Fle­d­er­maus and Prince’s Like A Mack alike. It brings an un­de­ni­able en­ergy to the party.

This per­for­mance is de­fined by clar­ity, tight tim­ing and rel­a­tively wide dy­nam­ics. In­sight and panache are im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent – an im­pres­sion that never wa­vers as we switch from cheesy rock to com­mer­cial pop via cin­e­matic sound­track (Kiss, Tay­lor Swift and Star Wars, in case you’re won­der­ing). It’s all hugely mu­si­cal.

Con­sid­er­ing the box is merely 21cm long, there’s a good sense of space – but you shouldn’t ex­pect it to rock the room. But what the Muo lacks in scale and brute force it makes up for with ar­tic­u­lacy.

The KEF Muo can be used hor­i­zon­tally or ver­ti­cally, but we pre­fer the sound when it is placed hor­i­zon­tally, as it feels more bal­anced and fo­cused.

For the most part this is enough to keep it near the top of the tree in this price bracket, but there’s no get­ting away from the fact the in­dus­try has moved on some­what over the past 12 months. Pit it against the Dali Katch, for ex­am­ple, and you see that an ex­tra £30 will get you greater scale, far more space, a greater sense of dy­nam­ics, and a more de­tailed and mu­si­cal sound. It’s still well worth an au­di­tion though.

Multi-room op­tion 12 hours bat­tery life aptx Blue­tooth

You can po­si­tion the Muo ver­ti­cally or hor­i­zon­tally. We pre­fer the lat­ter

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